Hamilton strikes back to top FP2 ahead of Rosberg in Belgium

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Lewis Hamilton has finished fastest in the second free practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps today, beating Nico Rosberg by a full six-tenths of a second at the top of the timesheets.

The Briton was forced to settle for second place during first practice on Friday morning, but despite encountering two red flags that limited running in the first half of the session, Hamilton produced a fine flying lap to finish well clear of Rosberg.

Sebastian Vettel’s session was over before it had even begun, with Red Bull confirming that an engine failure on Friday morning warranted a complete overhaul of the power unit. It remains to be seen whether or not he will face any penalties this weekend.

Esteban Gutierrez and Pastor Maldonado also endured difficult sessions, with the latter spinning on the run down to Pouhons to bring out the first red flag of the day. Although he walked away unharmed, Maldonado has left the Lotus pit crew with a lot of work to do on his car overnight.

Gutierrez’s off was a little less spectacular, as he spun at Blanchimont and was unable to get the car back going. He finished down in 17th place.

Max Chilton returned to the wheel of the Marussia MR03 after Alexander Rossi’s run-out in FP1, and finished in 18th. Just behind, Andre Lotterer continued to impress for Caterham, finishing less than half a tenth shy of Marcus Ericsson despite it only being his second time in the car. However, his session also came to an early end following an electrical fault on his car.

Behind Rosberg, Fernando Alonso once again finished as the best of the rest, some seven-tenths behind Hamilton’s time. Felipe Massa showed signs of Williams’ expected good pace at Spa in fourth, ahead of Jenson Button and teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Daniil Kvyat finished seventh for Toro Rosso, with Daniel Ricciardo in eighth. Kevin Magnussen and Nico Hulkenberg rounded out the top ten.

Once again, it appears that Mercedes is set to dominate this weekend, but the battle just behind is very close indeed. Be sure to join us tomorrow for qualifying live on CNBC from 8am ET, before the race on Sunday which is live on NBCSN from 7.30am.

NBC Sports presents IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama Sunday live at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN

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From NBC Sports Group PR:

* Sunday’s Pre-Race Coverage Begins with IndyCar Live Presented by Verizon at 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN

* Pre-Race Coverage Includes Robin Miller Feature on Rookie Zach Veach, Following Career-Best Fourth-Place Finish at Long Beach

* CNBC Presents Live Qualifying Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, Airs on NBCSN at 6:30 p.m. ET

STAMFORD, Conn. – April 19, 2018 – NBC Sports continues its coverage of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series this weekend from Barber Motorsports Park with live coverage of the Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Pre-race coverage begins with IndyCar Live presented by Verizon at 3 p.m. ET.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs — will provide live streaming coverage of the Grand Prix of Alabama.

Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) delivered a dominant performance at the Grand Prix of Long Beach last weekend, winning the pole and leading wire-to-wire for his third career victory, and third consecutive podium finish to start the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series campaign. Rossi currently leads Josef Newgarden (Penske) in the driver standings by 24 points. Newgarden won last year’s Grand Prix of Alabama, his second career win at Barber, while Rossi finished fifth.

This weekend’s live coverage from Barber Motorsports Park begins Saturday at 4 p.m. ET with qualifying on CNBC. NBCSN will air qualifying on Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET. Sunday’s pre-race coverage begins at 4 p.m. ET with IndyCar Live presented by Verizon and will take place from the grid in the lead up to the command, bringing viewers even closer to the action prior to the race.

Pre-race coverage will include a feature by IndyCar on NBC pit reporter Robin Miller on rookie driver Zach Veach, who’s coming off a career-best fourth place finish at the Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Lead IndyCar play-by-play commentator Leigh Diffey will call this weekend’s Grand Prix of Alabama, analysts Paul Tracy and Townsend BellMarty Snider, Robin Miller, Kevin Lee, and Katie Hargitt will report from the pits.

NBCSN will also present coverage of the Indy Lights race from Alabama late night on Monday, April 23, at 1:30 a.m. ET. Current IndyCar driver Conor Daly will join the NBCSN booth for the race broadcast, alongside Kevin Lee and Anders Krohn, with Katie Hargitt reporting from the pits.

Following is this weekend’s IndyCar schedule on NBCSN and CNBC:

Date Coverage Network Time (ET)
Sat., April 21 Grand Prix of Alabama – Qualifying LIVE CNBC 4 p.m.
Grand Prix of Alabama – Qualifying (Encore) NBCSN 6:30 p.m.
Sun., April 22 IndyCar Live presented by Verizon NBCSN 3 p.m.
Grand Prix of Alabama NBCSN 3:30 p.m.
IndyCar Post-Race NBCSN 5:30 p.m.
Mon., April 23 Grand Prix of Alabama (Encore) NBCSN 12 p.m.
Indy Lights – Alabama NBCSN 1:30 a.m.

NBC SPORTS GROUP AND INDYCAR PARTNER ON COMPREHENSIVE, MULTI-YEAR MEDIA RIGHTS AGREEMENT

On March 21, NBC Sports Group and INDYCAR announced a new, multi-year media rights agreement in which NBC Sports acquired the rights to present all INDYCAR races, qualifying, practices, and Indy Lights races across its platforms beginning in 2019.

The Indianapolis 500 and seven additional Verizon IndyCar Series races will be broadcast annually on NBC, with all remaining races televised on NBCSN. All races will be live streamed to authenticated subscribers on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Details of NBC Sports’ 2019 INDYCAR schedule will be announced at a later date.

NBC Sports Gold – NBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer product – will offer a package to INDYCAR fans that features all qualifying and practices not televised live, all Indy Lights races, and full-event replays. Additional details, including the cost of the Gold offering, will be announced at a later date. Click here for more information.


VERIZON INDYCAR SERIES ON NBCSPORTS.COM AND THE NBC SPORTS APP

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app — NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets, and connected TVs — will provide live streaming coverage of the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series via “TV Everywhere,” giving consumers additional value to their subscription service, and making high quality content available to MVPD customers both in and out of the home and on multiple platforms.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app are powered by Playmaker Media and available on the iTunes App Store, Google Play, Windows Store, Roku Channel Store, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.